Light clear leaves - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 04-30-2010, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Light clear leaves

What causes leaves to turn too clear and very light...not the green color it should be? Is it a lack of light or nutrients or both? It happens with only some plants....swords (but not all swords - Red Rubin and Red Melon are doing fine) and also happens with the grass (the chain and the other one that gets taller), but not the micro. It may not be light in my circumstance since it seems to also happen in my smaller tanks which actually have somewhat better wattage per gallon and are not deep tanks. All the other plants look great, epecially in the shorter tanks....except for one that was doing really well but not now...looks like Wisteria but don't think it is the same kind as what I get from Sweet Aquatics.

I have the plant Flourite for part of the substrate. I have not yet used supplements in my large tank since I still get a more brown algae than I like. I just started to use the supplements in the small tanks. They hardly get any brown algae....plants look great in these tanks except for what i mentioned above. I do know that the swords and the grass are not stem plants so if they need extra nutrients I would need to get the kind that you put in the soil.

Any advise? Thanks!
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post #2 of 2 Old 05-01-2010, 12:54 PM
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The cause is nutrient-related in most cases. I have seen charts elsewhere about symptoms and probable causes (i.e., which nutrients are missing or in excess to cause this and that), but I don't put faith in these as so many of the symptoms can be caused by different nutrient issues and it becomes a case of doing this and that hoping to hit the right one eventually. I don't like such an approach. Also, Tom Barr has told me that these "symptom" charts are quite unreliable because many are based on terrestrial plants, quite another thing.

Plants need a fairly specific balance of 17 nutrients; too much of this or that nutrient can sometimes cause plants to shut down assimilation of other nutrients, etc. Although some aquarists have success with substrate-only nutrients, many do not and find a liquid fertilizer necessary. First, what exact nutrients are in the enriched substrate? Flourite has 14 listed, so that's OK. [The missing three from their list are normally provided by fish and biological processes.] Now, I have no idea as to how much of each of these is in the Flourite and how quickly they are released. Seachem says it never has to be replaced. In my opinion, this is an impossible claim; the nutrients have to be exhausted at some point in time, but we can allow it will take a long time probably. You have it mixed with regular gravel you say, so that lessens the quantity of nutrients.

My initial general suggestion would be to use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement once a week and monitor the plant's response over 2-3 weeks. But I would also like to know your water parameters (pH and hardness) and which specific swords (species) are being affected. Could you attach photos? I might have further suggestions if I see this for myself.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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